Library from Connecticut
Although few residents seem to realize it yet, this rural town on the eastern edge of the Litchfield hills could well determine the future of wind energy in Connecticut. For the past year, a 180-foot meteorological tower has bobbed above the tree line along Route 44, measuring the wind's speed and constancy to test the feasibility of erecting the state's first commercial wind farm.
Last week, the New England Governors' Conference raised green fantasy to new heights with the release of its Renewable Energy Blueprint, which said the region "has a significant quantity of untapped renewable resources, on the order of over 10,000 MW combined of on-shore and off-shore wind power potential." Neither the report nor the news articles about it bothered to do the math. At 7 MW, New England would need 1,429 E-126s to tap that potential. Though the turbines likely would be clustered in "farms," that's an average of 238 per state, or more than one for each town in Connecticut. The cost would be $221 billion that the states don't have, though they might get a bulk-purchase discount of a billion or two.
Construction on a 199-foot wind turbine on the Klug Hill Farm property is set to begin within the next two weeks, said property owner George "Butch" Klug. ...residents had opposed its construction on grounds it would be noisy and unsightly.
The Optiwind company cleared what was likely its biggest hurdle toward the eventual construction of a 199-foot wind turbine Wednesday night as the city's Planning and Zoning Commission granted it a special zoning exception. The proposal was unanimously approved with little discussion from the commission and no public comment.
Will Torrington soon be the home a 199-foot wind turbine? The city may know as early as next week. The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to vote Wednesday on granting a permit to Optiwind for construction of a mid-sized wind turbine at 725 Klug Hill Road. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Sullivan Senior Center, 88 East Albert St.
The public hearing on making Torrington the home of a mid-sized wind turbine is scheduled for tonight, and the preliminary response has been moderately positive, an official said. ...Torrington-based Optiwind, a recent clean energy upstart, is scheduled to construct the turbine pending the results of tonight's public hearing, at 7:30 p.m. at the Sullivan Senior Center, 88 East Albert Street.
Suddenly it's not so much how sunny or windy a site is, but rather how much money is available. States generally have guidelines to prevent people from installing a solar panel in a forest: Solar projects require a specific exposure to the south, and wind needs a certain expected average speed. But weather conditions vary wildly, and states often don't require businesses to perform tests to verify estimates. The danger: Government money will be poured into renewable projects that won't produce much energy.
A Colebrook man is suing the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission over a temporary 180-foot meteorological tower built near his home. Stephen King said the tower was approved by the commission without following its own zoning regulations, which do not allow for commercial developments in residential zones without a special permit.
This is the perfect feel-good legislation for lawmakers, and they get double green stamps for this one because it also seems to gin up their environmental credentials. But as a practical matter, no state prisons are in Litchfield County where the U.S. Department of Energy says Connecticut's best breezes blow. To be sure, the wind is fierce at times in Cheshire, but conditions can be deathly still in the dog days of summer, when turbines would be reduced to gigantic lawn ornaments and expensive lightning rods.
Because of a loophole that allows zoning boards to approve test towers for wind turbines without notifying neighbors, residents near terrain favorable for wind energy could face the prospect of a major wind energy project being built in their community with limited ability to challenge it. ...That decision - affirmed at a contentious zoning board of appeals hearing in Colebrook in February - is now being challenged by King and other neighbors in a case scheduled to reach Superior Court in Litchfield in August.
A spokesman for Optiwind, a renewable energy company focused on wind power, said the company plans on appealing a decision by the Goshen Planning and Zoning Commission to reject a proposal to build a nearly 200-foot wind turbine. Spokesman David Hurwitt said his company plans on filing the appeal with the Litchfield County Superior Court within the two-week deadline.
Commission members Peter Kaufman, LuAnn Zbinden, Mark Fraher, Stephen Cooney and Don Wilkes rejected the proposal because of concerns about "adverse effects upon the existing and probable future character of the neighborhood or its property values" and because "this specific site is not appropriate for this specific use."
The city on Thursday announced it is taking legal action against Southern California Edison in order to prevent tall wind power lines from cutting through the city. The announcement was made at a press conference and rally held by the city and CARE (Citizens for the Alternate Routing of Electricity) ..."Under the existing agreements, the proposed power lines are too large and violate the agreements. Plain and simple - we do not believe that Southern California Edison has the legal right to place 198 foot transmission poles within a 150-foot right-of-way. We are suing Southern California Edison to prove this point."
A local developer has partnered with a former state representative and a self-proclaimed renewable energy expert to tackle an ambitious project that would bring two commercial wind turbines, each about 300 feet tall, to the salt marsh area north of Halls Road. If built, the 3-megawatt wind-turbine project, coined the Huntley Wind Cooperative, would be one of the first in the state used for commercial purposes.
While several Goshen residents spoke in favor of the application, others felt that the Optiwind design and placement is bad for the neighborhood. Elaine Frost resides on Beach Street near the proposed tower, and owns 150 acres of land adjacent to the Sewer District property. Frost is not convinced that the data submitted by Optiwind consultants is accurate, and she has joined with other residents to hire an attorney to help them oppose the plan. "I call them the Not Quite True Crew," Frost said of the experts and the reports that they submitted. "I believe that the appraisers were given specific information and visualization points that favored the applicant. They were inaccurate and selective."
The Goshen Planning and Zoning Commission heard comments regarding the application by Optiwind, a Torrington based company, to erect the turbine on Brushy Hill Road. Optiwind was turned down previously, with the commission citing the lack of information relating to the impact of the turbine on area home values and the absence of noise data for the proposed structure. Optiwind presented testimony from experts and company officials in support of its application.
A proposed wind turbine on the grounds of the Woodridge Lake sewage treatment plant on Brush Hill Road might get a second wind, as the application is scheduled to be resubmitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday. The turbine is being proposed by Optiwind, a Torrington company that bills its wind-energy equipment as "smaller, cheaper and more aesthetically pleasing" than typical three- pronged turbines used on large wind farms in states like California and Texas.
A proposed wind turbine on the grounds of the Woodridge Lake sewage treatment plant on Brush Hill Road in Goshen drew mostly opposition from residents who spoke during a public hearing on Tuesday before the Planning and Zoning Commission. ...More than 60 residents attended the hearing in the Goshen Center School cafeteria and only two spoke in favor of the proposal.
A new wind energy company has moved into Torrington highlighting their medium-sized wind turbines, which they say are perfect for the moderately windy Connecticut landscape. Optiwind, located in the former Torrington Company building, wants to focus their efforts on providing suitable energy solutions for both public and private entities. Early next year, they are set to install one of their turbines at the Woodridge Lake Sewer District in Goshen. When this occurs, it will be the first commercial wind turbine in the state of Connecticut. ...It is about 200 feet tall and 72 feet in diameter, half the height of a regular industrial turbine.
Governors of the six New England states met July 9 for their New England Governors Conference meeting in Boston to discuss energy and try to forge, among other things, an agreement on funding new transmission lines to bring electricity from remote wind and biomass power plants in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire to the urban centers on the Eastern Seaboard. The state chief executives met in private for what was reported to be some free and candid bargaining, but participants later confirmed that New Hampshire will likely have to go it alone if it wants expand transmission capability in Coos County in order to make renewable energy projects with a total of between 300 and 400 megawatts a reality.